drones

FAA Rules Pave the Way for Commercial Drone Delivery

Drone dark mode enabled
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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On the last Monday of 2020 (double ew), the FAA dropped a buzzer beater. It issued two much-anticipated final rules that will clear the way for drone deliveries.

“Remote ID,” a digital license plate system, will require drones to broadcast their location and the pilots’ whereabouts via radio signal. Starting next year, new mass-produced drones will need to carry the comms equipment onboard, and from 2023 on, all drones will need to have this broadcasting equipment.

  • Alphabet’s drone unit came out Winging against the rule, saying 1) internet-based tracking would suffice and 2) Remote ID “will have unintended negative privacy consequences.”
  • Old models will need expensive retrofits to comply, limiting the options of hobbyist flying communities.

The second big rule

The FAA is allowing drone dark mode (night flight) and remotely piloted operations in more populated areas. The rules apply to the 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots, with plenty of other caveats. For example, in the hardware dept, you’ll need anti-collision lights to fly at night, and zero exposed rotors to fly over people or cars.

Stay up to date on emerging tech

Drones, automation, AI, and more. The technologies that will shape the future of business, all in one newsletter.